Week 14 said everything you need to know about the Cincinnati Bengals
The 27-19 loss to the Cleveland Browns said a lot about the 1-12 Cincinnati Bengals. Mostly, that following the feel-good win against the New York Jets, NFL football in the Queen City is still a dumpster fire.
If Week 13 against the New York Jets made you feel good, even nostalgic about Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals, Week 14 was an ice-cold splash of water to the face. In a 27-19 loss to the Cleveland Browns, fans were reminded that Dalton is still Dalton, Zac Taylor is only a worst play-caller than he is a head coach, and that ultimately, your win-loss record doesn’t lie.
The Bengals are now sitting at 1-12, and all but assured the top overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. After Sunday’s loss at Cleveland, it’s hard to not see Joe Burrow as the quarterback Cincinnati needs to draft, and more importantly, that Dalton is no longer part of the 2020 plan.
It’s not complicated. Week 1 was a mirage that set off a ton of optimism. Last week, in a 22-6 win against an equally hapless New York Jets, fans were absolutely breathless that Dalton would usher in a revival of good times. Against an unimpressive Browns team, a reminder was issued that this team is every bit worthy of their 1-12 record and that Dalton is clearly at the end in Cincinnati.
Like Week 1, winning the stat sheet isn’t the same as winning the game. The Bengals aren’t able to close the deal and Taylor isn’t proving to be the kind of head coach to make adjustments that render a win. Week 14 proved that Cincinnati is every bit their 1-12 record and that getting better may require the kind of wholesale changes fans simply don’t want to understand.
With three games to go, it’s down to moral victories. A split fanbase looking for silver linings will cling to either an 0-3 finish or validation built around Dalton should the Bengals stumble into a win. Either way, Week 13 in Cleveland said everything you needed to know about NFL football in Cincinnati. Then again, the very real prospects of a one-win season should have said the same.